In the next post I’ll focus on the facts and functions of the “wounds” suffered by a large percentage of young men in our society. Not physical damage, but injuries of the heart and mind that function as “spiritual cautery knives” – cutting deep into their confidence and searing their soul to stifle confidence, initiative, and performance.
Today, however, I want to concentrate on the Imperious Illusionist – the one who wounds by diverting our attention from God’s invitations, and distorting reality to distract us with synthetic stories of current events. I’m speaking obviously of the master deceiver and our arch Enemy – Satan.
Illusionists make a living by distracting our attention. By definition they don’t perform magic or the supernatural; their goal is to deceive us and distract our attention from what is really happening…
I once attended a performance by one of the world’s premier Illusionists. After a few acts I was convinced I knew how he was fooling the audience. I described the idea to my companions as we walked to the car, all of whom immediately disagreed. A few years later I sat next to a fascinating individual on a flight who served for ten years as personal assistant to another of the world’s great illusionists. I told him about the show and asked him if Illusionists ever used “plants” in the audience; actors who appeared as random volunteers but were actually permanent members of the show.
The man’s jaw dropped as he looked around to determine who was listening to our conversation. It was like I had violated national security. He nodded and then described the role of what was known in the industry as “Confederates”. He told me how all illusions are built on simple but brilliant distractions, trade secrets that if made public would end the career of most of the major performers. It reminded me of something Sherlock Holmes would say to Dr. Watson after describing to a client how he ascertained his observations – then hearing the client laugh at the simplicity of the method. Holmes would turn to Watson with disgust and state, “Omni ignotum pro magnifico,” a Latin phrase that means, “Everything is made common upon explanation”.
The key to watching Illusionists, of course, is to constantly remember that they are creating illusions – not reality. The left side of our brains short circuit when we watch the improbable. We think, “This can’t be happening, but it’s happening.” The same holds true when we encounter circumstances orchestrated by THE Illusionist. He wants us to see a lost job, a rejected college application, a distanced relationship, or a broken bone as an inconvenient hindrance to our objectives – something we need to control and overcome (or worse – escape, more later); when in fact it is God’s protection to point us in a different direction. Satan wants us to see a dejected individual sitting next to us on a plane as a potential “ear bender” during a long flight, when in fact it’s God’s invitation to nudge someone a step closer to the Kingdom. We will be fooled and our hearts distracted if our radar settings are anything less than Defcon 1.
Our Enemy also uses Confederates as part of his brilliant illusions. The Bible describes his army of demons who work behind the scenes to tempt and discourage us. In Teknon and the CHAMPION Warriors, those Confederates (to Poneros, the master enemy) are represented by two villains, Magos and Scandalon:
Satan is the Imperious Illusionist who desires more than anything else to distract us from the truth of God’s word so that we distrust His provision and direction in our lives. When we and our young men embrace Satan’s facades; when we allow ourselves to move away from God and buy in to the illusions of our Enemy’s temptations, we suffer wounds that only God through time can heal.
Imagine that you are a member of the audience watching the Imperious Illusionist perform his tricks on stage. Look carefully – do you see where he is distracting and deceiving you, members of your family, or your friends?